Microsoft Reveals First Battery Life Specs for Windows RT Tabletsby Anand Lal Shimpi on August 14, 2012 1:50 PM EST
Yesterday Microsoft announced the final roster for ARM based Windows RT tablets expected to launch this year. We'll see Windows RT tablets from ASUS, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung, as well as Microsoft itself with Surface. Those who aren't listed either opted to go x86 exclusively (e.g. Acer) or simply won't have a Windows RT device in the first round. Microsoft is trying to exercise more control over its partners with Windows 8, with hopes of boosting the overall quality of launch devices. Powering these tablets will be NVIDIA's Tegra 3, Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 or TI's OMAP 4 SoC. Thanks to ARMv7 ISA compatibility across all three SoCs, only a single build of Windows RT is needed to run across all Windows RT tablets.
The OS is final as of now, but there's still a lot of work being done on drivers. I don't expect to see anything resembling final drivers until early October. That being said, Microsoft did share a bit of early data about the first Windows RT tablets:
|Windows RT Launch Tablet Specification Range|
|Min||Max||Apple iPad (2012)|
|HD Video Playback at 200 nits||8 hours||13 hours||11.15 hours|
|Connected Standby||320 hours||409 hours||-|
|Battery Capacity||25 Wh||42 Wh||42 Wh|
|Weight||520 g||1200 g||652 g|
|Length||263 mm||298 mm||241.2 mm|
|Width||168.5 mm||204 mm||185.7 mm|
|Height||8.35 mm||15.6 mm||9.4 mm|
The only battery life specs that Microsoft shared unfortunately came with very little information. Thankfully MS specified the brightness setting (200 nits, oddly compatible with our own tablet battery life tests) but not the workload in particular. I added the 3rd gen iPad to the tablet above to draw a rough comparison, but with things like battery life it's difficult to make an accurate comparison without knowing all of the details from Microsoft's tests. The rest of the specs show a fairly wide range of devices, starting at something that's much thinner and lighter than the current iPad and going up all the way to something that's more notebook like.
It's disappointing to see a lack of commentary on battery life stressing more than just the video decode logic on the SoC and display. I'm also interested to see how Atom based Clovertrail Windows 8 tablets stack up against these Windows RT devices in terms of battery life and performance. If Atom based Windows 8 tablets can deliver a comparable experience there, and are comparably priced (which seems to be the case based on what I heard at Computex), then the choice between RT and Atom based Windows 8 tablets may boil down to whether free Office or legacy compatibility matter more to you.